How AI Works, Universal Music, Bard Images, TikTok, and Elon
Weekly Roundup of AI, Technology, and UX
Here’s the latest news, resources, and use cases from the world of product, UX, AI and technology. Let’s go:
🧠 Revolutionizing Product Management
🎧 Universal Music
🤖 Bard Images
👨💼 TikTok CEO
🦾 How AI Works
🥽 Innovation Labs
In this episode, Ryan Glasgow, the founder and CEO of Sprig, shares his insights on product management and the impact of AI. He and Kyle discuss his background in product management and his experience scaling companies like Weebly and Vurb from startup to successful exit. Ryan also explains the importance of product market fit and how to determine if a product is meeting customer needs. We also explore the concept of feature market fit and the role of AI in analyzing user data. Ryan provides advice for aspiring founders and product managers and shares his recommendations for interesting podcasts and products.
News and Useful Reads
If you’re on TikTok, you’ve already seen some of the fallout of UMG pulling their music catalog from the app. It’s crazy to me how concentrated this industry is. While the biggest names won’t be affected, so many small artists who depend on social media are already having a difficult time. All because the people at the top want more money, as always.
TikTok has grown into one of the most powerful forces in the music industry over the last few years. It’s one of just a few companies with the ability to make songs go viral, and record labels rely on the app to identify new artists and promote their work. TikTok has argued that it’s helping artists reach a vast audience and serving as a discovery vehicle for their talent.
Bard keeps bringing new features, and I keep going back and forth on which AI tools are my favorite.
For an extra creative boost, you can now generate images in Bard in English in most countries around the world, at no cost. This new capability is powered by our updated Imagen 2 model, which is designed to balance quality and speed, delivering high-quality, photorealistic outputs. Just type in a description — like “create an image of a dog riding a surfboard” — and Bard will generate custom, wide-ranging visuals to help bring your idea to life.
TikTok continues to be in the headlines, so this was an interesting interview with the CEO in Wired. Especially given how prevalent the app has become.
But let’s be clear: TikTok is no longer in competition with other social media companies, especially if your metric of success is immersion. It outclasses every other app in this regard. X is chasing away advertisers; TikTok integrates them. Meta has promised a metaverse where we create, work, shop, and play. With TikTok, it’s already here—no headset required. YouTube is a good place to post videos, but not to make them; TikTok not only lets you post videos, but its in-house editing app rivals expensive pro-level software.
It warms my heart to see employees asking leaders hard questions about layoffs and company culture. There is a huge disconnect these days between leaders, who continue to reap the rewards of all the hard work employees are doing, and the actual employees who get laid off at any time. Rather than suffering when the company misses “earnings targets” or other bullshit metrics, leaders put the burden onto employees when it should be the other way around.
While answering a question about whether any executives had been laid off or had their compensation lowered, he said that, since rolling layoffs began this year, a “higher proportion of directors and VPs have been impacted than levels one through seven.” He also suggested that having to make the cuts is punishment itself. “Part of leadership is also making the tough decisions that are needed.”
Elon Musk continues to prove he’s the incompetent villain/man-child rather than the incredible leader that his fanboys try to paint. At the very least, another greedy billionaire who is focused on his own power and wealth, and the wealth of his inner circle.
Multiple other directors of Musk companies have deep personal and financial ties to the billionaire entrepreneur, and have profited enormously from the relationship. The connections are an extreme blurring of friendship and fortune and raise questions among some shareholders about the independence of the board members charged with overseeing the chief executive. Such conflicts could run afoul of the loose rules governing what qualifies as independence at publicly traded companies.
For all the talk about AI lately—its implications, the ethical quandaries it raises, the pros and cons of its adoption—little of the discussion among my non-technical friends touches on how any of this stuff works. The concepts seem daunting from the outside, the idea of grasping how large language models (LLMs) function seemingly insurmountable.
But it’s not. Anyone can understand it. And that’s because the underlying principle driving the surge in AI is fairly simple.
Other Interesting Finds
If you think about the shape of our solar system (or have kids who like to ask lots of questions like mine do), then this is something you’ve probably thought about. And this was a good, short read on the subject, with some good images.
The solar system started from a slightly rotating cloud of dust. Particles near the equator found a stable circular orbit as the inward-pulling gravitational force was balanced by the outward-pushing centrifugal force. Particles near the poles had less centrifugal force, so they got pulled down toward the middle, forming a big flat disk. Those at the pole had no centrifugal force at all, so they got pulled into the center of the solar system, where the sun would eventually form.